A Reminder about the Dangers of Farmed Salmon
Salmon farming is a controversial issue, and we could write scores of blogs about our take on this industry and what it means for the Bristol Bay fishery, for the American & global diet, and for our coastal communities and environments. In fact, there are many websites dedicated to this exact topic, but the point that we most want to stress to our customer’s today, is that farmed salmon is not the healthiest choice for you.
There is a popular bumper sticker in fishing communities that reads, “Farmed Salmon Dyed for You.” Because a farmed salmon’s diet does not include the natural carotenoids of algae and other organisms lower on the food chain, the flesh of these farmed fish would be a bland white if it weren’t for the dyes used on fish farms. As further explained in a 2017 Time Health article:
“While wild salmon get their color by eating shrimp and krill, farm-raised salmon generally have carotenoids added to their feed, either through natural ingredients like ground-up crustaceans or synthetic forms created in a lab.”
Are you avoiding Red 40 dye in your kids lunchbox? You might want to also start avoiding farmed fish.
Two wild, Bristol Bay salmon fillets ready for the grill on the back deck of the F/V Ava Jane.
PCBs are another contaminant that may be more present in farmed fish. PCBs are man-made chemicals that were banned for use in the late ‘70s yet they are still appearing in some areas and in farmed fish. Many appraise the farmed fish as a better option for smoking because of its high fat content (notice those thicker white stripes in the fillet), but because PCBs are stored in fats, this could cause a health risk. Even the Mayo Clinic is worried about our PCB intake and summarizes, “Farmed salmon that are fed ground-up fish have been found to be higher in PCBs, compared with wild-caught salmon.” It is important to note that the levels of these contaminants have been lowering in Norwegian stocks, but our American product is lagging behind, as explained in this Healthline article. Producers are working to improve their systems in farming fish, but at Wild for Salmon, we trust mother nature more.
In short, there are numerous, significant reasons to pass on farmed salmon, and your health is an important one of them.